Russia slams 'illegal and harmful' extended US sanctions

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Moscow, Russia Mar 03, 2018, 04.26 PM (IST)

The Kremlin insisted US sanctions against Russia were "illegal" today, a day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to extend measures put in place during the Ukraine crisis.

"We have never been the initiator of these sanctions, we consider them illegal and harmful not just to the people of our two countries but the whole world," Russian presidential press spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today, Interfax news agency reported.

Washington imposed sanctions on Moscow following Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula and Moscow's backing of rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin this week set the course for a new arms race with Washington as he boasted of a new generation of "invincible" Russian weapons developed in response to the threat posed by the US.

The moves come as relations between the global powers plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War, despite candidate Trump's promises to mend fences.

As well as the Ukraine crisis, Russia and the US have clashed over the conflict in Syria and accusations that Moscow interfered in the US election in 2016.